As well as being a great addition to salads, and an ingredient in delicious smoothies; pomegranates contain some important nutrients which help with pulmonary health.
One of these is ellagic acid – this chemical has powerful antioxidant properties which neutralize damaging free radicals in the body and reverse cell damage. This reduces the risks of various forms of cancer, including in the lungs.
Scientific studies have also shown that pomegranates can actually slow down the spread of cancer and even promote cancer cell death. Extracts from pomegranates can also limit the blood supply to cancerous tumors in the breasts, prostate or lungs.
All citrus fruit, but particularly oranges, can have a positive impact on the health of your lungs. They contain plenty of vitamin B6 and iron; both of which have been shown to help the lungs operate more efficiently.
These nutrients assist the lungs in transferring oxygen into the bloodstream meaning that they don’t have to work so hard in supporting the rest of your bodily functions.
In addition oranges contain plenty of vitamin C which has long been linked to fighting many forms of cancer. Oranges, as part of a Mediterranean diet, are associated with lower rates of lung, breast and pancreatic cancer.
#6. Peppers/ Capsicum
Most members of the pepper family contain a chemical called capsaicin. This is what gives them their familiar spicy or sharp taste. The spicier the pepper the more it contains.
Capsaicin is an extremely helpful nutrient which improves the blood flow around the body, fights infection and stimulates mucus membranes which helps the overall health of your lungs.
Even the less spicy bell peppers help with lung health. They contain a high level of vitamin C and various carotenoids which have been linked to a reduced risk of developing lung cancer.
Garlic is closely related to the onion and so has many of the same properties; particularly when it comes to benefiting pulmonary health. One particular study showed that people who ate raw garlic twice or more each week lowered their risk of lung cancer by more than 40%.
The benefit comes from the sulfuric compounds the garlic contains. When you chew on raw garlic these compounds are breathed directly into the lungs. This means their cancer fighting properties are directed straight into the pulmonary system.
Raw garlic works far better than supplements or capsules though; so you may need to get used to bad breath for a while.
Health experts are often telling us that we should get more beans in to our diets. A diet built around these and other plant based foods offers a range of health benefits. This includes contributing towards strong, healthy lungs.
Kidney beans, black beans and indeed most pulses, contain plenty of antioxidants which combat the free radicals that can damage cells in the lungs.
In addition most beans also contain high doses of magnesium and plenty of healthy fatty acids. These all help with lung function and also develop an efficient cardiovascular system.
Just like carrots, pumpkins are extremely rich in beta carotene which helps fight cancer.
In addition though the vegetable also contains alpha carotene; studies into this chemical have suggested that it is an even more effective anti-carcinogen. Like many orange fruits and vegetables, they also contain lycopene and lutein which help with your overall bodily health
In addition pumpkins have been found to be extremely useful when eaten by patients going through cancer treatment. The combination of various nutrients has been found to help combat the side effects of chemotherapy and strong pharmaceutical drugs.
#2. Cruciferous Vegetables
The so called cruciferous vegetables come from the brassica family. They include cauliflower, cabbage, kale, broccoli and Brussels sprouts. While these might not be the most exciting of foods to incorporate into your diet; for good overall health they certainly should be included.
These vegetables are great for the health of your lungs. They all contain high doses of chlorophyll which acts as a cleanser and detoxifier; filtering the blood and fighting toxins.
Cruciferous vegetables also contain something called isothiocyanates. Some studies have made a link between an increased level of these in the system and reduced occurrences of lung cancer.
To function effectively your lungs need a number of different vitamins and minerals. This includes nutrients such as quercetin, vitamin C and vitamin E – all of which are found in abundance in apples.
In one study scientists demonstrated that eating five apples a week was linked to an increased level of lung function. Apples were found most effective at slowing the deterioration in your lungs caused by pollution and cigarette smoke; this is due to the strong antioxidant properties of the fruit.
It seems that, for your lungs at least, an apple a day really does keep the doctor away!